On Wednesday, it was reported that the World Series champion Houston Astros planned to accept an invitation to visit the White House, as is customary for title-winning teams.
Reid Ryan, the team’s business operations chief, told the Houston Chronicle, “When the White House calls and invites you to come up, it’s something that as an organization we felt both a responsibility and an obligation to be part of.”
It seems like a pretty straightforward statement that most people with an ounce of sanity and common sense could understand. But of course, as ESPN personality Max Kellerman so helpfully demonstrated on Thursday, sanity is in short supply these days.
Kellerman, who co-hosts “First Take,” instead went off the deep end with a rant about what the Houston Astros are really doing by upholding tradition and visiting the White House to be honored by President Donald Trump.
When moderator Molly Qerim asked, “What does this say about the Astros, accepting the invite?” Kellerman launched into an impressive display of tired platitudes thinly veiled as patriotism.
“It says they’re making a grave error and they’re on the wrong side of history,” he began, without even a hint of sarcasm to offset his hyperbole.
“And I want to be very clear about this: This has nothing to do with where on the political spectrum you fall, left or right. Nothing,” Kellerman continued. “It’s not about being progressive or conservative or Democrat or Republican or winning or losing. That’s not what this is about, elections. I say what I say because what has gone on in this administration is abnormal and must not be normalized.
“To do anything to normalize what is going on right now has nothing to do with being a Republican or a Democrat or who you’re rooting for politically. It has to do with equal protection under the law and constitutionality and being a patriotic American citizen. You do not normalize this behavior with White House visits. Period.”
Thankfully, co-host Will Cain didn’t let Kellerman’s ramblings go unchallenged and instead called him out.
“I’m sorry, Max, I don’t believe you,” Cain said. “I don’t believe it has nothing to do with your politics. …
“No matter which side you check on, it doesn’t matter. The point is, is your life, are the things you do, bigger and broader than politics? And for guys like George Springer, World Series MVP, Houston Astro, it’s clear his answer is yes.”
After the World Series, Springer and several of his Houston teammates had said they would accept an invitation to the White House.
Cain continued, “Here’s [Springer’s] quote: ‘In our country it stands for a lot. It means a lot to a lot of people. I’ve been there, my grandfather worked in Washington for years. If the team goes, I’m going.’
“He realizes a trip to the White House is what most of us realize it can be. I don’t know, honoring tradition, honoring the office, honoring the country, honoring unity, honoring the special accomplishment that you and your teammates have crossed the finish line of in the past year. … It is those things for most people.”
Incredibly, Kellerman’s bit of self-righteous indignation wasn’t the worst thing to come out of an ESPN host’s mouth this week.
On Wednesday, rising ESPN star Katie Nolan appeared on Viceland’s “Desus & Mero” and appeared to call President Trump a “f—ing retard” before backtracking and calling him a “f—ing stupid person.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.